Monday, January 10, 2011

WPIAL/ increased travel time

On another post not-lol wrote:

Questioner, since you mentioned sports I just like to ask if anyone from the athletic reform committee has presented anything that might resemble what a schedule will look like once PPS is WPIAL-ized? I do not have a kid who will be impacted right now but there is some concern about increased travel times causing delays to being promise ready. It would also be a load off a lot of minds to know the bus rides will include a catered dinner for games that require departure at or before dismissal.


Questioner said...

Doesn't it seem more likely that the buses will stop at a fast food place?

Anonymous said...

athletics update re: city league joining the WPIAL

a full time athletic director in each high school - where will this money come from?

Anonymous said...

City League teams have already played exhibitions against WPIAL teams for years. Travel times and meals have always been worked out. That is the least of the problems. Getting outside the City League provides an excellent "education" in itself.

Questioner said...

An occasional exhibition game is one thing, but what about a long travel time to games much more frequently?

Anonymous said...

Schools will be placed in WPIAL sections within a reasonable radius and classification. It won't be like they are playing teams 40 miles away. Down time can be used for study halls, tutoring, etc. After the game, the school bus can act as the "activity bus" transporting players who don't have rides home. Once the athletic committee works everything out, the student-athletes and parents will definitely get more for their tax dollar bucks.

What will make it work, is IF PPS really commits to making it work.

Anonymous said...

Here is an example of a local school's (Central Catholic) baseball section: Franklin Regional, Gateway, Kiski Area, Penn Hills, Plum, and Woodland Hills. All are within a short bus trip. As far as exhibition games are concerned, the coach would decide how far to travel for these games.

lol said...

Anonymous 9:41, you crack me up. I have witnessed how the meals issue has been handled. Once I saw a whole boys' basketball team eating out of three family sized bags of chips while they waited in the hallway for the bus to come take them to a game. Give me the name of the person who ws doing the "working out" of meals at each school. There are the schools who do a nice job with a concession stand selling hot dogs and nachos but some schools only have candy and chips and others nothing at all.

lol said...

Thanks anonymous 10:12, the distance is not too bad, but increased transportation costs are still a factor. I know the state covers a large part of the cost of transporting students for school but anything for sports and extracurriculars? The central budget provides UP TO $60,000 to a school for athletics (per former COO Berdnik at an EFA parent meeting) so how will the increased costs beyond that be covered?

Is anyone concerned that the athletic reform committee is made up of jocks and not enough non-jocks? Some of us are well aware of the benefits of organized sports but concerned that dollars devoted to increased costs will detract from what can be proveded in classrooms. Our policies prohibit using venues as vehicles for corporate advertising (scoreboards, naming rights, sponsorships) so what is the plan for the money?

Anonymous said...

Regarding "meals," each individual coach/school/a.d. needs to address that. Also refreshment stands, fund raising, etc. needs to be addressed on an individual school basis.

Regarding costs, PPS already spends millions of our tax dollars on our athletic programs. (coaching salaries, faculty managers, Gavlik's salary, etc.)Are we getting our monies worth, I don't think so. Monies already budgeted need to be used more wisely. Also, how about grant money that might be out there? Corporate money such as UPMC and local businesses for school athletic game programs? Better yet, get rid of the top-heavy administrators and apply those monies!

Anonymous said...

Athletics Committee
Name District Affiliation
Duane Ashley Mayor’s Office
Aaron Mickens Referee
Mark Brentley School Board
Sophia Facaros Principal
Robert Fadzen School Police
Walt Milinski Teacher/Coach
Rich O’Brien Teacher/Coach
Vern Phillips Parent
Mike Gavlik PPS Administration

There seems to be a "mix" and not all "jocks."
George Gensure PFT
Mark Rauterkus Parent
Ken Saybel Teacher/Faculty
Jake House PPS Administration
Phyllis Jones Teacher/Coach
Tim Keefer Teacher/Coach
Suelynn Shiller Parent
Sarah Sumpter Principal
Derrick Lopez PPS Administration
Amy Malen PPS Administration
John Tokarski Parent
Ted Vasser PPS Administration
John Vater Principal
Christine Wolski Teacher/Coach

solutionsRus said...

More important that meals is whether the PPS is actually going to make an investment in our sports programs that will keep us competitive with suburban teams. It is not just sports, research on participation in sports has shown better school attendance and decreased drop out rates.

Most WPIAL teams have not only middle school level for many sports but freshman teams as well, providing more spaces for players and more playing/development time.

Most suburban teams have the benefit of well organized sports programs for elementary age kids, providing a real "farm system".

Most WPIAL programs have a bigger budget and intensive booster programs, unlike PPS.

While we might be able to compete in basketball and football, other sports like tennis, swimming, baseball, etc. will be difficult.

And lastly, playing in the WPIAL would be more feasible if we were playing in the appropriate section (single A for most of our schools). However, combining high schools for sports will place several of our teams in the triple pr quad A divisions where we will, frankly, be sorely outplayed.

Anonymous said...

This is the death blow for city sports, in general. Sure, a school will be able to compete in a given sport, but the majority will not.
I have to wonder what geniuses hatched this plan.
Maybe I shouldn't wonder. Is it the same entity that calls a political hack like John Tarka a 'parent'???

Then we have a do-nothing PFT mouthpiece like George Gensure, too?
What a joke.

lol said...

Anonymous 4:48, happy that somebody agrees with me finally. I can't really find an upside to this that would be a benefit now. I'd rather see a 5 or 10 year plan that prepares the district to actually gain in more than just athletics before entertaining the idea of joining the WPIAL. Speaking as a parent who attended lots of tournatments in more than one varsity girls' sport, it is demoralizing to never take the top spot after playing hard. Then there are the times where the coach was visibly worried that not enough girls would make the bus at school after taking PAT early on a Saturday morning to meet the team bus. I have seen games where there were a half dozen parents in the stands. Build support and attendance before you give our competitors one more thing to criticize, lack of support. Start by suspending the practice of charging for games where you know attendance will be low, especially the games immediately after school. And yes, for students attach strings. Some already exist, like a behavior standard that I have seen in action when a teacher removes a spectator for unsportsmanlike spectating.

Ok, now I am just on my own nerves, so i will stop here.

Anonymous said...

In 5 years we will probably be down to 3 or 4 high schools each serving 1 large geographic area of the city. Student population isn't going to go up, only down.

Questioner said...

Like, Allderdice Peabody Brashear and Perry? Each with 1000 to 1250 students? At least that way everyone would have a good selection of electives, programs, sports and activities.

Anonymous said...

Why would it be Peabody in the big 4?

The biggest question is what will happen with UPrep, IB, Westinghouse, Sci-Tech -- all 6-12 schools with all the restraints on times and spaces that come with those kinds of schools.

Will those kids have easy/equal access to the kinds of clubs, activities and sports that are vital for middle class kids getting into college? Or will they have to limit themselves to one activity or pay to join private teams or groups?

Mark Rauterkus said...

The WPIAL games will be more in the evenings -- and less at 3 pm. So, less classroom time will be LOST, I dare say.

Yes, the trips to Riverview or Avenworth or South Park are farther than to only Brashear, Carrick, and Langley, for example.

Yes, much more needs to be done to make the whole school space, study space, support space, trainer space, locker space, and team room places that are productive, interactive, and where enrichment never stops.

Getting back after an away match/game to school at 10 pm, or 11 pm even -- and trying to take a city bus home (given PAT's meltdowns) is going to be a PAIN for some, no doubt. Big headache.

= =
I too worry about the make-up of the planning process. We need buy-in from STUDENTS most of all. More on that shortly.

= =
The PPS and City policy on naming rights might need to change. Costs are a worry. Sponsorships might be needed in some shape and form.

= =
The combining of different HS populations to make one sports team, as worried about above in solutionsRus is NOT on the table now, thankfully. Exception = UPrep & SciTech will be TOGETHER on all teams. All other schools (except again, CAPA) will stand alone and be in those smaller classifications too. (whew)

The WPIAL move is a huge risk. No doubt. But it won't take 5 or 10 years to prep the kids. Give me 10 to 20 months and we'll have a go -- if the support and will to do so is there.

Lots of moving parts. Big cans of worms, for sure. Nods to all comments.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Q: will they have to limit themselves to one activity or pay to join private teams or groups?

A: I expect that on the whole, a move to the WPIAL will mean more devotion and dedication to fewer sports. More athletes will get more involved in year-round training for ONE main sport. That has been the trend in the WPIAL. The super-stars are mostly ONE sport participants, and that happens year-round.

The city needs MUCH more opportunities for year-round participation. Off season conditioning, drills, camps, clinics, all-stars, etc.

But also, the city teams are going to need more role players and participants to come out for the teams to fill the squads. Kids will pick up a 2nd sport to help their buddies round out the squad -- for school devotion, spirit, duty.

Most of all, the kids at small schools will play against others from small schools too. That will be refreshing - and that never happened in the city league. Competitive balance was the last of the worries of PPS -- and that is a HUGE factor for success in sports.

Questioner said...

So is it expected that Obama and Sci Tech will field a football team then?

And with no more than 200 boys at Westinghouse 9-12, and no more than 200 girls at Westinghouse 9-12, what is the range of teams they can reasonably expect to offer?

Mark Rauterkus said...

Next year, fall 2011, the Obama + Sci-Tech + UPREP coop will continue for all sports, including football. In 2012, Sci-Tech and U-Prep will field joint teams.

I'm not sure if Obama will have what it takes to field FOOTBALL in 2012.

The prediction and answer resides within different stake holders. Will there be an interest from the kids? Will there be direction from the district? What alternatives / options / better / different activities are available.

Instead: Play soccer, water polo, X-Country, rugby, fall baseball, pre-season hoops, wrestling, lifting, band, One Acts, who-knows-what. ??

Time will tell.

If Westinghouse hired the popular, ex-PITT, ex-NFL, Dave Wannstedt as its head football coach, many more kids would be going to Westinghouse. (No knock intended to today's head coach at Westinghouse.)

Sports can be the magnet to pull kids into the school and the district -- rather than sending them elsewhere. Retention too.

Questioner said...

On a post in the December section, Anonymous made the following comment today, reposted below:

"Change in Athletics MUST happen..however it turns out. The City League, amidst all of its history and glory, is "minor league" due to a whole number of reasons (coaching, facilities, training, exposure, lack of discipline and expectation). The succeesses that have been witnessed out of the City League have been solely on the backs (legs, arms, etc) of the individual players and the teams they played on.

The issue of the Obama school possibly not having a football team is very real and probable. Some believe that simply an "effort" to recruit more student athletes will bring students out..they're wrong. Obama may not only not have a football team, they also may not have a soccer team (boys & girls) and will be challenegd to have a baseball and softball team. Football won't exist because of a lack of bodies, as soccer may be also be a victim of a similiar fate. But even if soccer has numbers, just as a baseball and softball, they will barely have numbers...meaning they will have the very minimal numbers to have roster a varsity team (No JV team) ...but they will not a large enough of a pool of players too develop and be they will NOT BE COMPETIVE!

January 11, 2011 2:47 PM"

Questioner said...

A danger is that the lack of sufficient numbers becomes self-fulfilling, as students concerned aout whether there will be a team choose other options. Will they be happy to instead play water polo, run cross country or be in the band (a band at a cross country meet?). Maybe some of them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:48 please read closer. "Tokarsky" and "Tarka" really aren't that close. More attention to detail would help your credibility here.
P.S. An appology to both might be in order.

Anonymous said...

Another danger is that the middle grades will see a great "farm team" concept and students will make decisions not based on their academic ability but more on the belief that they have an identity as an athlete that is of greater value to them than say going on to an Obama, where their sport of choice does not exist.

Old Timer said...

Mark, again, if you wanted to be a coach you should have gone to school to be a teacher. Most teacher-coaches have their priorities straight and truly want to do the best they can. It comes down to the kids coming out for the team. Period.
You speak about having the facilities for conditioning in the city and it's clear that your perceptions are so off that it's almost unbelievable. Instead of hanging around schools and athletes who prioritize sports or have huge participant numbers or have like-minded parents, why don't you spend some time talking to coaches around the city where apathy is off of the charts. Where kids would rather smoke weed, have sex, party, 'hang out', gang bang, deal drugs...or in a more innocent vein, have a part time job, than play a sport, no matter how much talent they may have.
It's getting a little old now, Mark. I keep wondering if the idea comes down to, if you beat the drum loud enough someone will eventually give in.
It's not about inferior coaches, although there are some.
It's not about the schools or the administrative leadership, although some could give a rat's patoot about extra-curriculars.
It's all about the communities.
It's all about knowing cross segments of school populations.
Teachers know this already. Those not in the schools spread innuendo and provide commentaries that simply are not anywhere approaching the reality of the inner city.
You need to spend more than a few hours in some of our toughest schools and toughest communities before you point fingers.
Enough already.
I agree with many here. This is one of the most idiotic ideas that I have ever heard, and I say that as a lifelong athlete and coach.
I'm trying to discern if the "committee" believes that constant drubbings at the hands of WPIAL schools will make all of our kids want to get better and practice harder--year round, if need be.
It doesn't work that way with most kids, city or not.
And water polo? Really?

Questioner said...

The Pittsburgh Promise was intended to inspire students to do more than "hang out, etc. by providing other opportunities.

Has it had that effect? If not, can anything be done to lead to the intended effect?

lol said...

everyone should watch the EFA TV show featuring the athletics discussion with a lot of input from Mr. House and Mr. Lopez. It is all too vague for me. At times even sounding like school is a supplement to athletics. Does anyone know it numbers are kept on kids sitting out games due to academic probation?

Mark Rauterkus said...

We've been here before and the slander didn't work then either.

The "attack" on the messenger and not the message is a sign of real foolishness. That was old before and still old, Old Timer.

The Pgh Obama middle school baseball team had to have CUTS. Too many kids tried out for the team. Not enough uniforms. The pipeline from middle school to high school, when within the same unit should be much easier than in the past.

The hours for coaching and the hours for teaching do not mix well. Coaches generally have work at 5:30 am to the start of school (7:30 am). Then again from 3 to 9 pm. Then again most weekends from 7 to 7. Teachers do NOT have a monopoly on the coaching profession and to insist otherwise, learn how to tell time.

It is HARD to listen to a lecture on straight priorities from one who may not be able to tell time.

anon said...

Mark makes a point that should be addressed, that of lost instruction time for kids when the coach has to leave the classroom to go with a team. How many kids have been shortchanged when a teacher/coach has to squeeze in lessons to acccomodate a game schedule or is unavailable to a kid needing afterschool help. Perhaps this is addressed within the PRC procedures.

All that said I prefer a teacher/coach if possible for other reasons.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Go to WPIALs and miss 2 days. PIAA meet is 3 days out of classroom. JR Nats, Zones, Sr Nationals are all going to be about 5 days out of the classroom. Or, it is easy if there are none at those higher levels. Our city kids can and do reach the upper levels of their sports -- but they generally don't stay in PPS settings. "Excellence for All -- except for those who want that here" is what we've got.

Anonymous said...

Mark, for the record, you were not slandered. Nor were you libeled.
You were not intentionally defamed or even insulted, for that matter.
You were asked to expand your horizons beyond Obama. You were asked to look beyond middle school.
You have stated that teachers simply padding their pay is a huge problem within coaching before.
Sorry, but the best scholastic coaches are overwhelmingly in the teacher profession, and not dads.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Think again.First, coaches are in the teaching profession. Second, My horizons stretch from New Zealand to Canada -- and many places between - in the city and elsewhere. Just make a personal dig and get little. Sad.

Go beyond MS? Say what?

The teachers padding pay quip is not what I would say as the pay is hardly peanuts. Prove otherwise. There are hundreds of problems in PPS but high pay for coaching is not a factor I worry much about.

IMHO, (new) coaches should be faculty members yet have a classroom teaching load that ranges from 0 to full. In PPS realm, the Promise Readiness Teams should include coaches too. (Pilot)

PPSParent said...

You know what? When you write something like this: Sorry, but the best scholastic coaches are overwhelmingly in the teacher profession, and not dads. is when you might want to think: am I letting my personal feelings about someone stand in the way of common sense?

There are plenty of great coaches who are also officially teachers, though obviously all coaching has to do with teaching. Likewise, there are wretched teacher coaches out there as well. In my times in the PPS I've run up against both ends of this spectrum (and they were all teachers).

But, if being a dad disqualifies someone, well, you're on to something unique there. That is really quite shocking news and I think most coaches are going to have to resign or retire.

In general, sure, I think it's best to have most coaches be teachers in the school because 1) the kids know that they will talk to (or should talk to) their teachers about their classroom performance and 2) it's easier for scheduling, planning, relaying information, etc. if the person in charge knows how the school runs.

But, I'd rather have an outside coach than someone who doesn't really know what they are doing and shows no great interest in learning to do better.

Old Timer said...

Questioner, my comment did not post.

Questioner said...

Here is Old Timer's comment that did not post:

"Mark, PPS Parent...

You are missing the overall point here and again, it gets down to perceptions. It's easy to look at good kids who come from good families who go to good schools and make comments from your perceptions that emanate from therein.

Here's the point: those kinds of kids and situations just aren't the reality of this district, and yes, I know that reality quite well having toiled there for many years and coached teams that competed against a few of the schools that you perceive to be the norm but more often than not, against teams that were lackluster, regarded the game as a joke and were involved for many of the wrong reasons.
And the sad part is, as I said before, there are a great many student athletes in this town who simply won't get involved.

Here's my problem with the thinking about coaches in this regard: too many people will judge such types of teams as being reflective of poor or apathetic coaches who are in it for the money only.

On the contrary, it is more a symptom of our culture and our communities. What is a coach to do--any coach--when kids won't come out? What is he to do when kids opt to skip practices in droves? What can he do when grades get the majority of players booted?

Parent, you are preaching to the choir about parents and the damage they do in successful programs. You see, it is my experience that it is rare that a parent wants to take over a program mired in student apathy. To me, it's an accurate comment that teachers make the best coaches. They simply have no choice but to be as such.

Coaches all too often take the heat. When I think that the same job I do as a basketball coach would get me $3-5K more in suburbia and read some of the comments that I do hear, I can only add the word "thankless", too."

not-lol said...

I do not currently have a student to be affected immediately by athletic reform, but I have had kids active in PPS athletics and I would like to make a suggestion to parent/coaches that would be included in any by-laws or code to come from reform. Forget that you are a parent. Apply the equilalent of HIPA to all communications with your fellow parents concerning the kids you coach. Under no circumstances do you discuss a kid's homelife, grades, family members, etc. If if isn't positive, get anmesia. (In my observation, teacher-coaches do this better than parent-coaches). And another, might be to consider any cost to a student before making a plan for any sport related event or purchase. Old Timer is correct in saying that some schools won't be able to field a team and others will be able to compete respectably. Allderdice in most sports will be fine. The football powerhouse schools too. Sports reform is premature here. There are too many balls in the air right now. My armchair reaction is the same, we say we need a cultural change to make a big impact then we let decision-makers behave like they have institutional ADD.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Okay then, here is a summary from another perspective: Sports do NOT resonate with the poor. Playing sports is really just for the elite.

Think again.

Frankly, one of the beauties of sport is its universal appeal. Kids of all backgrounds from the Townships in South Africa and Rio to the elite prep schools of Hawaii where Pres Obama went to school, or else Shady Side Academy and Fox C for more local examples, enjoy and can become dedicated to sports performance.

it's easier for scheduling, planning, relaying information, etc. if the person in charge knows how the school runs.

Agree. However, an outside coach (non building teacher) can know how the school and district runs.

To be sure, in some situations, it might be best to NOT have a person coaching who is also a full-time teacher as there are things that happen in sports that are NOT how the school runs. Last year when the teachers had a half-day in-service, the kids were set free and it was a great opportunity for sports workouts -- and not to riot.

The best way to change the 'culture' is to awaken the students by their hearts and souls. You can do some of that in math class while others try to do the same after the bell rings.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I dare say that sports reform is NOT premature in that the time is here. It must occur soon, once it is fully planned, fully understood, fully debated, fully vetted. Once there is solid buy-in -- then advance. So, the only thing that might be still half-baked is the process and stages for the outcome. That is a work in progress and NOT set in stone at this point now by all claims.

Transitions can occur. I am a fan of evolution. But, to wait and do the same old stuff is to insure FAILURE.

Moving into the WPIAL in the fall of 2012 is possible. Lots of things need to happen in association with that move too. That would be a great milestone if taken in concert with the overhaul. To close the city league and do nothing else would be a nightmare, on the whole, IMNSHO.

If sports reform goes poorly and makes matters worse, and if some of the charter schools do a better job with sports and building community in after-school times, then the PPS district goes past the brink.

PPS needs sports and extra activities to retain and attract students and families.

not-lol said...

Until all the money issues and the farm system and the buy-in on the part of students is in place joining the WPIAL should be in a hold. Would a transition out of the city league be possible? Roll-out by sport as the competitiveness level is reached? Swim from Obama and Dice first. Then, as other city schools see success the commitment factor and incentive will be created. Still, also can't get past the money issue. Sorry, the suggestions are so vague and sometimes out-of-touch with reality. Our corporate and foundation community already support so many programs if asked to underwrite one more what other entity will lose the funding they enjoy right now? For the factor discussed here about a component for tutoring (btw, amazing job Coach Jones at Westinghouse) built into the overhaul keep in mind that dollars are needed for that and there are serious restrictions on how funds can be used. Would a loose, casual, approach be acceptable as the one needed to be in place for turoring during practices?

Anonymous said...

Truth is that there won't be a city league anymore, no matter what happens with WPIAL. There won't be enough HSs to run one. The smaller model 6-12s will send one or two kids to the main school's team, if they're truly motivated, and that's it. Their teacher coaches won't be their own teachers and will have little or no contact with their schools.

Honestly, the choice is between a couple of WPIAL teams at a handful of schools or nothing.

Just like so many other things that were strengths of the PPS even 10 years ago, sports too are fading away out of purposeful neglect. Once they (and all sorts of other programs) are gone, everyone is going to be so surprised -- how did this happen?!

But once something has been killed so slowly, over so long, over so many schools, it's nearly impossible to revive it.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The move to the WPIAL is on hold now in as much as it is just one of MANY suggestions. All are pending. I think that there is common ground in the approach and what was just posted. For sure, the move to the WPIAL is NOT a sure thing.

Everything is not on the table now -- but much of it is. Moving away from the city league to the WPIAL is on the table.

I agree that a creative transition to the WPIAL could be a wonderful exercise: by sport, by school, by team, etc.

Furthermore, an overhaul of INTRAMURAL, EXTRA-MURALS, training camps, clinics, off season conditioning and schedules should precede the all in to the WPIAL.

A sports reform effort can bring new money, new foundations and new energy into school performance -- not just weaken and diminish what is already offered on a more academic side.

Two new points: I agree that a swim first approach would make great sense. I have suggested that. We need some trailblazers. We need some models so others can follow for the good as well as for avoiding the pitfalls.

Then you get quickly rub against the "out of touch with reality" nay-sayers too. Can't do that. Can't join here but not there. Can't tutor like that. Can't, can't, won't, can't, equity, whew.

Another avenue, not on the table, but one I wish was being kicked around, is to overhaul and expand the city league.

If TCU can join the Big East, why can't other schools beyond PPS be a part of the city league / District VIII?

Anonymous said...

Too many people painting pictures in black and white when there is always alot of gray.

I know of a coach in one of the "good schools" that used to read the newspaper during practice. Not all teachers make great coaches and not all parents make bad coaches and vice versa. And comments regarding certain students from certain areas as "apathetic" is a stereotype that is not appropriate for constructive dialogue.

Anonymous said...

Yes, some coach to pad pay checks, but most do it for the love of the game. 6800 is not very Much for HS Football Head Coach in Western Pa. WPIAL Teams have assistants that make more than that. Football Coaches are not paid in July or 1st two weeks of August. Many Schools work out four times a week during this time. The Coaches are not paid one red cent. I have given 4 hours a 4 days a week during this time for over a decade for no money.

Coaches have not had a cost of living raise in the last 2 or 3 Contracts.

Coaches in many other sports such as Basketball, Soccer, Swimming and Baseball, Donate Their Time in the off season.

Many do above and beyond, and some are more qualified than you think.

Coaches in the PPS have to do with out the same facilities or Booster clubs and funding that our WPIAL conterparts have.

Mark R, I know you are a Sports Expert, but you need to do your Homework before complaining about coaching, 1st by checking out what is realy going on.

Start with the schools lack of facilites, check coaches resumes and programs before generalizing all in to one group, Bad Coaches.

Mark, why don't you go Coach swimming at Peabody or Westinghouse, it would be an education.

Old Timer said...

Once again, post does not show up here.

Questioner said...

Old Timer's post- not clear why it didn't come through:

"Anon at 4:02, surely you must be joking. You would rather be politically correct than tell it like it is. You might as well be a central office administrator in our district.
What hooey.
Not constructive? Come back and spend a few, my shoes or the shoes of anyone who wallows in the apathy I write about. While it may not be constructive to those with perceptions that are from Fantasy Island, they represent the problem in our district.
You can prefer to place your stock in those who form opinions based upon what they see at 'good schools' but no amount of smoke blown is going to change things, nor is a teacher who doesn't understand the terrain or worse yet, parents who think that renting a few videos grant them license to coach."

Mark Rauterkus said...

Think again as I am not here beating the drum against coaches. BTW, I coached swimming at Peabody this summer for 5 weeks with ths Summer Dreamers and an extra program or too as well. Homework, check.

Anonymous said...

Coaching at The Summer Dreamers Academy and Coaching a Varsity Sport such as swimming at Peabody for an entire season are not same.

Homework check?

Not complete

Check all the High Schools in the PPS to see the disparity in Facilities & Fields, Tracks or lack of.

Compare City Athletics & Facilities with the surrounding suburbs.

The reason the PPS dose not advertise at athletic events on score boards is because of a School Board by law from 1933, a Retired Football Coach stated a few years back

Anonymous said...

Old Timer,

You are tedious, repetitive and bitter. Anyone that doesn't agree with you gets the negative comparisons with your paranoid delusions about "central administration". Do us all a favor and stop posting until you have something to say, that hopefully, has some broader perspective that doesn't have to do with griping.

Only you know what happens in the inner city schools of which you speak. Only you know who would make a good coach and who would make a bad coach. Only you know...everything!

Since you spend so much time telling us what you don't like, let me tell you something that I don't like. I don't like a teacher that is obviously so burnt out that I can only hope that he/she is no longer teaching. And I don't like when people use obviously inappropriate stereotypes, comparing the black students that live in our district as apathetic, sex-crazed gang bangers and when their called on it resort to the ole "politically correct" retort. Last time I checked, avoiding negative stereotypes was a good thing, but if that makes me "politically correct", I'll take that moniker.

Gees, ivory tower, walk in my shoes, teachers good, everyone else baadd. Give it a rest.

Old Timer said...

Sir/Madam, let me get this out of the way: so what?
Your opinion means nothing to me. The fact that you would seek to play an imaginary race card speaks volumes as to your agenda. In your fairy tale world--shared by some here--weed smoking, gang banging, party hardy, drug dealing, sex with multiple partner types of kids are only black? Just where are such things attributable to one race?

What an outrageous misrepresentation. Sickening...and disturbing.

How far into the gutter do I have to crawl to debate with you if you are grossly going to misrepresent my thoughts?

Old Timer said...

I should add that your comment at 4:02---"And comments regarding certain students from certain areas as "apathetic" is a stereotype that is not appropriate for constructive dialogue" is indicative of the disconnect from reality that you and others like you have.


This is no stereotype. This is not a situation that is aligned to one race. Excuse me for asking, but just where do you glean such outrageous assumptions??? Just which part of the city--and at which city school do you personally know of---where one race or one gender has a corner on apathy???

Apathy is rampant across this district in and out of the classroom and it transcends color and gender. Again, I could care less whether you like or dislike me, but if you are going to debate and dissect, at least be adult enough to not resort to smear tactics.

happygal said...

Get ready, there will now be many short posts...

Anonymous 1/10 12:44 stated:
Regarding "meals," each individual coach/school/a.d. needs to address that.

You'd better plan to be pretty specific with the coaches during their training then and apply the same rules at all schools. I know of a parent-coach this year who insisted on kids being on a bus waiting to depart when they could have been walking to subway to get $5 footlongs to share and had been back to make the departure and game on time.

happygal said...

lol 1/11/11 7:51, face it the kids most likely to commit to participating wholeheartedly in a sport have a parent making sure they are up on time to make an early morning weekend practice or game. The same parent probably drives their kid and others to the gym door. That parent probably does not wait to hear that the kid is going to sit out games or practices due to academic probation. That parent probably commends a kid's commitment every chance he gets in a subtle way that does not lead the kid to believe sport is everything.

happygal said...

Anonymous 1:11 10:35, I think many kids have already found places/teams outside of high school city sports to enjoy the games they love. Suburban leagues, regional organizations, etc. It might be good to check with a school like Sci-Tech to survey the students there about their outside school sports. Lots of PPS coaches, often parent-coaches, put these groups of students on this path and coach them for development purposes. The risk there is that the parent-coach is not as aware of the academic demands on a student and has less sympathy when a game or practice is missed. I speak from personal experience here.

happygal said...

Old Timer, I appreciate your input and hope you will do us all a favor by continuing to post.

Anonymous 1/13/11 8:05, African-American students do not have the market cornered on the apathy issue or poor school performance. You post was the first to specifically use the term "black" in the discussion of stereotypes. Can't say where you are from but in many communities you will find as many white boys holding up their saggy pants using their hand while they push their baby in a stroller and walk down the street with the child's Grandmother.

There really is no racial achievement gap there a disadvantaged achievement gap.

Anonymous said...

Old timer,

Smear tactics? you are accusing me of smear tactics? You are a hoot! You cling onto the "apathy" comment and ignore your smear of the entire African American population by calling them "gang bangers".

As in other posts, your insinuation that no one can possibly have a handle on the perils of urban education besides you is par for the course. As I said, give us all a break and refrain from posting until you have something new to say.

Anonymous said...

OK, you all can pretend that the comment was not directed the African American community if you like. Let's just throw away that comment altogether and if I misunderstood the context (which I am pretty sure i didn't), I apologize. But the point remains that majority of posts from old timer are repetitive, griping diatribes.

This is supposed to be a forum for exchange of information and hopefully useful suggestions for improving our schools. Old Timer contributes nothing to that end.

happygal said...

Me again, MR (wow, I guess that MR is exclusively your's now Mark) brings a lot to the table and uses resources to tap ideas and get confirmation that his ideas are worth considering, such as the phased in rollout of any move to WPIAL discussed earlier. He too, should post often since his participation in the discovery and planning process gives us more that what is avaiable otherwise.

It would perhaps be beneficial for our purposes if posters to this blog could have a thread where everyone could anonymously list their school affiliation or status. That way we readers could see if we are hearing from a real cross-section of stakeholders. No comments just something like:

Allegheny Middle-Parent-PSCC or

East End-Teacher

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Old Timer -

I am sure that you get tired of repeating yourself. I hope you continue to post despite anon at 8:05 comments. Many who work for the district agree with a lot of what you post. No one is ever going to agree with everything.

Remember this - it is easy for those who do not know what we know and do what we do to judge us. Until anon at 8:05 actually takes time to walk in our shoes and experience what we do on a daily basis, he/she will continue to judge.

MANY of us were disappointed that you took a break from posting. MANY of us are happy you have begun posting again. Please continue to let the public know what is going on behind these closed doors and in the ivory tower.

Curious George said...

I strongly second what anon 6:16 said.

We need to hear from as many viewpoints as possible.

And posters should be able to post without being smeared as pessimistic, biased, etc.

We're all on the same side after all!

Old Timer said...

Dissent is a given and people disagreeing with you or "not liking you" is part of the territory. So what? Reprehensible smear tactics are simply disturbing. It's shocking to me that this individual likely has children.

I appreciate the comments. I'm proud to be a teacher and a coach and yeah, I do it better than any parent can or could, and I do it on a daily basis. I'd say this is applicable to all of my PPS colleagues, regardless of what central office types might think.

"Burnt out"? You bet, but the kids are the refreshing part. They're the challenge and they're the hope--that the potential is put to good use. I'm only burnt out of know-nothing adults who routinely offer criticisms--either via learning walks or message boards.

Even so, it's fine. I'd normally have to go to a bowling alley to debate a similar mentality.

Anonymous said...

yeah, I do it better than any parent can or could

Old Timer --

Do you have children of your own?

If so, your argument is problematic.

If not, is your argument that only teachers without children make the best coaches?

Shall we go back to the olden days where women had to stop teaching when they got married (or got pregnant)?

Anonymous said...

Old Timer, You are priceless! In your denial of casting aspersions, you insult "bowling alley" types.

The point is that we have heard over and over and over again how wonderful you and all teachers are, how learning walks stink, how all of administration is bad. As I said earlier, most everything is in shades of gray, and this type of drivel does nothing to further constructive, solutions driven debate.

Anonymous said...

anon 6:16,

If old timer was "continue (ing) to let the public know what is going on behind these closed doors and in the ivory tower" that would be different, but he/she is not. He simply repeats the same gripes over and over again and while some have come to his/her defense, OT has had no problem insulting Mark Rauterkaus and anyone else who disagrees with him/her.

I for one, welcomed the absence of OT's contributions to this blog. I agree we need varied opinions and viewpoints, but the incessant repetition and insulting tone and rhetoric is tiresome and unproductive.

Anonymous said...

Old Timer, I love your comments

I see the same things, people do not know how bad it is

Raterkus, is a little out there, He is self prommoting himself all the time. Love the picture of him, he is a want a be politician

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh at anon's continued venom thrown at Old Timer. Funny stuff that rings hollow, likely an elitist parent who knows nothing about the reality of PPS and worse, wants to know nothing. He knows how to conduct a character assassination, but even fails at that. Bet he is murder on the playground.

I've said for some time this site is no friend to teachers. This thread proves it---the very fact that anon's comments stand without a word from the moderator is proof enough.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11-45, you don't understand the idea of 'daddy coaches', who either coach because they *think* they can do it better or do it to move their own kids forward. And I agree...there's no room for parents--non-teachers that is--to have coaching jobs at the school level.

Anonymous said...

You can all keep bashing one another and debating the issue of "parents" coaching and/or non-teachers coaching all you want. The bottom line is that PPS's powers that be (not the emasculated PFT) will make that decision. And in reality, if PPS is going to successfully compete in the WPIAL, they will have to open coaching positions to the MOST QUALIFIED candidates whoever they are. Why? Coaches won't be able to coach 2 or 3 sports a year and do all the pre-season, post-season conditioning, and activities that are necessary to run a successfull, competitive program. PPS will need more coaches - plain and simple. Can they ALL come from within PPS's teaching ranks? I highly doubt it.

Look at some of the WPIAL's programs. Are all the coaches teachers? No, they are not. Some are former teachers/coaches/administrators (retirees), but some are physicians, nurses, salesmen, former players, firemen, etc.

not-lol said...

I remember hearing that President Hazuda was a successful community coach. It is possible that other board memebers have a background in community athletics that would inform their decisions or thinking about coaching positions.

Anonymous said...

You can not compare community coaching to High School. Huge difference.

You can not even compare community athletics in the city to suburban community sports.

Thats the first reason the city league can not compete.

Plus no middle school football, 9th grade football, somphmore football, and a 10 game JV season compared to 6-7 in the city.

WPIAL schools have more Coaches per team

Weight Rooms- No comparison

Training Rooms- No comparison

Parent Involvement No comparison

Funding- Not even comparable

People do not even know or care to research.

WPIAL Coach/Ex City Coach/Ex WPIAL Coach & Player